Oakland-based designer, architect and eco-entrepreneur Michelle Kaufmann has been one busy lady in 2009. The green prefab guru released a book back in January, went carbon neutral on Earth Day, sat down for coffee and a chat over at Design*Sponge in April, and, of course, continues to impress with the work coming out of her namesake architectural design firm, Michelle Kaufmann Designs.


Kaufmann ended 2008 on a tasty, playful note by re-imagining some of her most famous architectural works like the mkSolaire and the mkLotus with gingerbread (gingerbread made from organic ingredients, natch). Now, at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry’s Kaufmann-designed Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit, the mkSolaire is recreated in another playful (but non-edible) medium: Lego blocks.



The legoSolaire, on display now at the Smart Home exhibit, is an uncannily faithful facsimile of the original structure right down to the green roof. Well, about as faithful as you can get when working with plastic construction toys of Danish extraction. Like Kaufmann’s gingerbread creations, the legoSolaire not only looks really cool but also serves a deeper purpose: To get kids excited about the relationship between green building and the health of our planet. 


I would have gone gaga over something like this as a kid. One of my early “grown-up goals” (somewhere in between bird on a wire, dolphin trainer, interior designer, Disneyland employee, rock star and storybook illustrator) was to become an architect. I would spend hours building intricate structures out of plain wooden blocks and Lincoln Logs — not so much Legos as I was a pint-sized minimalist — and then populating them with Playmobil people or whatever action figures I was currently obsessed with.



Back then, I wasn't hip to photovoltaics and rainwater collection systems nor was I aware of the impact that homes have on the environment. But times have changed. So parents, if you have a building-fixated kid on your hands, use this as an opportunity to open up a dialogue about environmental concerns around the home. After all, it's much more exciting than sitting down and explaining a utility bill to them. 


Via [Re-Nest]
Images: Michelle Kaufmann Blog




Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Green prefab goes Lego
First it was gingerbread. Now, architect Michelle Kaufmann's prefabulous mkSolaire gets the Lego treatment.